Logic3 Valve80 review

Guitar geeks and audio obsessives everywhere will love the Logic3 Valve80's valves. These little glowing tubes of glass were the original means by which music was amplified, and purists maintain that they sound better than transistors.

The Valve80 from Logic3 is an attempt to bring valve amplication for the iPod to the masses -- up until now, iPod valve amps have been available, but they’d set you back closer to £500.

With three valves standing proudly on show, the Valve80 looks like an audiophile product, and sounds pretty stonking too. Two of the three valves are the kind popularly used in guitar amps as a pre-amp valve. Here it appears that they’re used in the driver stage, boosting audio signal before the main power amplifier stage.

Bright lights of the Logic3 Valve80

The forward and more conspicuous of the tube trio is a 6E2 ‘magic eye’ valve, featuring two glowing phosphor strips that lengthen from above and below to denote music signal level. The feint green strips only really come out to play with the volume turned up high -- but when they do they’re a cool bit of lab-tech eye candy.

The real power for the amplifier is hidden inside the main unit -- there are two solid-state stereo amp chips wired in bridged mode, giving an output power of around 40W per channel. This hidden tech is the actual muscle that drives the included piano-black speakers.

With an iPod mounted in the dock, you can control volume and playback functions such as play/pause, track skip and shuffle mode from a small remote control handset. Using the remote you can even adjust tone with ± treble and bass controls, although there’s no visual indication to show your settings, nor indeed for the volume position.

Sound quality of the Valve80 system is relatively impressive, making it one of the better sounding iPod docks on the market. There’s a gentle lift to treble that brings more perceived clarity to sound, showing details like finger noises on acoustic guitar. At the lower end, bass is nicely tight and controlled.

OUR VERDICT

The Valve80 covers similar ground to the Fatman iTube, another hybrid valve/transistor design. The valves of the Valve80 are more for show than go, but the sound is warm and loud, and the neat and stylish package looks fantastic. Considering the _300 price tag, the Valve80 is a great iPod system.

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